As a follow up to my last post about the ‘Ride-or-Die’ chick archetype, I am continuing this discussion because I feel that the issue is multi-faceted.

The next big issue that is exposed in the ‘Ride-or-Die’ chick discussion is the way that Black men and Black women have come to view relationships. It’s that perspective that makes us view the ‘Ride-or-Die’ chick negatively. Me, myself, personally, I see her as a symbol of unconditional love and loyalty. That’s something that I’m sure appeals to every Black man. True, I may say that because I am a man, but my perspective also allows me to believe that not every ‘Ride-or-Die’ chick is linking up with a man that will bring her down. It’s a matter of perspective. Which is one of the biggest problems for Black people.

In general, love has become degraded and devalued in our society. It is no longer chivalrous and courtly for a man to be smitten by a woman or for a woman to feel a domestic sense of duty to her man. We have become sarcastic and cynical in our views towards love and this has wrought havoc on Black relationships. For Black people, with the history of division that we have, to accept such a perspective is ten times more dangerous than any fate that might befall the ‘Ride-or-Die’ chick. That kind of thinking is infectious and it contaminates generations of Black people.

Instead of approaching a relationship as something to be built and cultivated, we come with a list of demands and requirements. The worst thing anyone can do in a love is begin with pretenses. In the previous article I called this the if-then perspective. We come into relationships seeking to barter our demands with another person: if you do this, then I will do that. What we should be doing is enter the relationship playing at the highest level we possibly can, just because it’s the best thing we can do for the relationship. It doesn’t guarantee a perfect relationship or happily-ever-after, but it gives us the best chance of obtaining that ideal. But we won’t do that because we are afraid.

That’s the reason we feel we have to approach romance this way is because we are afraid. We are afraid of the risks involved with loving. The greater the romance, the greater the risk; the greater the potential for success, the greater the potential for failure. Love is meant to be that way. It is consuming and it challenges us and forces us to deal with ourselves and our issues and someone else’s issues. And in the midst of all that dealing (combined with the original attraction and convinction) we bond with another person. Seeing this person we know so well being ravaged by inner demons, bludgeoned by circumstance, winded by chance and (hopefully) coming out the other side of this hell we call life a better and more beautiful person is an honor that draws us closer to this person than we ever thought we could be. That’s where I can’t live without you comes from. Logically we know we can live without them, but what we are saying is “I refuse to.” C’mon, you can’t say that shit’s not hot! But, by that same token, there is also the chance that things could go awry and that person could sink beneath the mounting losses and drag you with them drowning into the abyss. And when you finally have to let go, you will not be the same after having endured such heartbreak. But it’s okay. Somehow you will figure out how to put the pieces back together and how to go on living and loving. And if you’re lucky one day you MIGHT look back on that terror and see the beauty in the fact that you tried, you gave it your all, you didn’t give up as soon as it got hard, AND you probably learned a whole lot too.

Avoiding the risk only avoids the true nature of the relationship. When two people come together unwilling to be changed for better or for worse, they cheat themselves (love is always gonna win the game whether you play or not…millions of people out here). They limit love’s potential and point themselves towards failure. And every step they take closer to failure vindicates their belief that they should never have done this in the first place. Well that is partially right, we shouldn’t do it if we’re not gonna do it for real. And damn sure don’t do it if you can’t find any place in you that can believe from the very beginning that it can work. That’s what I see in this bashing of the ‘Ride-or-Die’ chick. A bunch of scared people who want to validate their cowardice by jumping on every negative outcome of unconditional love and loyalty.

Well the truth is there is only one guarantee love can make and that is that if and when you experience it, you will never be the same. The rest of what happens is up to you and your lover. How you approach love and how you honor it when you find it makes all the difference. Try faith. Just for the hell of it one day just try loving someone just because you can and believing it’s gonna work out just because of your faith. Hell, it’s the one thing you probably haven’t tried! So, why not give it a shot.

I’m not Sayin; I’m just Sayin

An Angry Black Man

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